The overwhelming probability is that you already own a kettle of some description. Arguably the most common of kitchen appliances, the kettle is almost a given. But everyone has their own preference and needs. Definitely the electric kettle is more common, but many of us prefer the more traditional stovetop kettle.
With the increasing popularity of specialist coffee and tea, if you're looking for a new kettle choosing is harder than it's ever been. That's why we've put together this guide to help you choose one or the other: should you go for a stovetop kettle, or an electric one? The answer will depend on what you intend to use it for, and your specific needs. Read on and we'll tell you all you need to know so you can make an informed choice.
Stovetop Kettle And Electric Kettle: What's The Difference?
It would seem at first that they have more in common than they have differences. Both are of course used to produce hot water, and feature a spout through which the water can then be poured. But the fundamental difference is in the way that they heat water. The stovetop kettle for coffee, as per the name, requires an external source of heat to work. In 90% of situations, this is going to be the stovetop. Electric kettles, of course, require a mains connection to heat boiling water and require no external heat.
The differences do not end there, however. Whereas stovetop kettles are great at producing a rolling boil and can actually heat water above boiling point, electric kettles offer a whole range of different options which the stovetop kettle can't match. For example, many electric kettles offer a range of heat settings, meaning you have precision with your hot water. They feature a water gauge, and they boil water much faster. Which is most appropriate for you depends a great deal on your tastes and what you intend to use the kettle for. If you're looking to buy a pour over coffee kettle, you may find our guide helpful.
Is A Stove Top Kettle Better Than Electric?
It's hard to say whether one is better than the other without bearing in mind why exactly you are boiling water. If you you're in the market for a tea kettle, you will have completely different requirements to a pour-over coffee aficionado. What works for one may not work for others.
Below are the pros and cons of this classic design.
Stovetop kettles produce a rolling boil, which means they can be heated and kept at temperature, which can be useful when you're serving up coffee all day.
They have the ability to heat water above boiling point, which for making certain types of tea can be a major advantage.
They are easy to take away travelling into nature, as they require no mains supply to work - simply put it on the campfire and voila: hot water.
They contain no heating element, which if not properly maintained can be harmful to your health.
They are easier to clean as there are no electronics and no heating element, meaning no hard to reach spots where limescale can accumulate.
Doesn't have the same level of flexibility as an electric kettle.
Comparatively slow to heat.
Can only be used where there is an external heat source.
Stovetop kettles certainly have their uses, and for many who like the hands-on feel as they boil water these are the way to go. They are not so good for specialist coffee however, as there are no temperature settings. Although you can remove from the heat and leave to sit for 30 secs, this is less than ideal for many baristas.
Should You Buy An Electric Kettle?
Electric kettles have many advantages, especially for maker of pour-over coffee. Goose necked electric kettles are increasingly common for this reason, as they offer greater precision in pouring and temperature control. Temperature control is important as boiling water is too hot for many brews. For example, the ideal temperature for pour-over is around 96C, but for green tea around 70C is ideal.
Temperature control settings allow you to heat water to the exact temperature you desire, meaning you can use the kettle for a much wider range of tasks.
Boils much faster than the traditional stovetop version.
Can be used anywhere there is a mains connection, so great for hotel travel.
More energy efficient.
Can be harder to clean due to the heating element. See our post on how to clean your kettle for more information.
Is An Electric Kettle Harmful?
Modern electric kettles are not harmful to health. Some older versions did have issues with BPA plastics, but it is easy to find non-BPA products if you do opt for a plastic kettle. Stainless steel kettles do not have this issue, which is why they are favoured by many.
Is It Cheaper To Use An Electric Kettle Or Gas?
Electric kettles are slightly more energy-efficient, coming in at around 80%, vs 70% efficiency on the stovetop. However, this is evened out by the fact that gas is cheaper per unit than electric. Then you need to factor in the fact that stovetops take longer to boil water vs an electric kettle. On balance, it probably works out roughly the same, but perhaps slightly cheaper to use an electric kettle.
Which Is The Best Electric Kettle To Buy?
The best kettle for you will depend on your needs and what you will use it for. The Hario Buono is a stovetop model which incorporates a gooseneck spout and beautiful design. Or if you've decided to go electric, the Brewista Smart Pour has variable temperature controls and can be plugged directly into the mains.
Whichever way you decide to go, so long as you consider carefully what you need the kettle for and bear in mind the information above, we're sure you'll find the right kettle for you. If you still can't decide, why not check out our full product range and see if you find anything there that's perfect for you.